Gen Con 2019: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
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Posted by cmegus

Time for this years roundup.

Good: The weather! Absolutely gorgeous sunshine all 4 days, no rain, moderate humidity. Gate 10 Parking was very good this year with what looked like quick shuttles. Also, the awesome people at customer service who would actually take the returns for tickets and then go get your Will Call tickets so one did not have to wait in 2 separate lines. Also, a shout out to several awesome DMs on Saturday at JW running D&D Adv. Leagues games. Fun, fun with tons of hilarity and great adventures.

Bad: STILL not enough food trucks for the masses. Even at off times, the lines were 20 people deep, except on Sunday. And need more places for people to sit when eating.

Ugly: WTH is up with the Nazi security personnel at the JW Marriot. I was kind of ticked at watching several people getting what looked to be harassed in the lobby for what looked like no reason...

All in all, another incredible time and so much fun. Next year can’t come soon enough - though the 20+ miles of walking does require recovery time :)

Ok, share your thoughts.

G
 

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Posted by aldctjoc

"Ugly: WTH is up with the Nazi security personnel at the JW Marriot. I was kind of ticked at watching several people getting what looked to be harassed in the lobby for what looked like no reason..."

When did that happen? If people are being harassed, I want to re-think staying there again in the future. I don't want to tolerate that. 

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Posted by nikas zekeval

Good:  The new app handles much of the basic things you'd flip through a con book for, like maps.  Going with that the wifi in the convention held up well AFAICT.

Bad: The app needs a better mark for electronic tickets.  I spent an hour or so looking around and going to con ops for a "lost" ticket that was an e-ticket.  Perhaps something visually distinctive in the app for E-ticket events?

Ugly:  Finding stuff in the app, particularly events, when you have an unexpected block of free time was frustrating due to the clunkiness of the app.  Just opening the schedule got you the entire schedule from Wednesday on, even if you were looking on Saturday night.  Some way to filter for events not yet played would be nice.

Also supposedly the anime viewing room schedule was buried in the events list, somewhere.  But there seemed to be no easy or obvious way to filter it out.  using "anime" as a keyword certainly didn't pop out results.

aldctjoc wrote:
"Ugly: WTH is up with the Nazi security personnel at the JW Marriot. I was kind of ticked at watching several people getting what looked to be harassed in the lobby for what looked like no reason..."

When did that happen? If people are being harassed, I want to re-think staying there again in the future. I don't want to tolerate that. 
It's in the Attendees/Customers forum.  "Overzealous event staff" thread.

the tl:dr version is a few, possibly the same person, was either pushing or unclear on the line that separated GenCon rented spaces from Hotel public spaces.  And people having pickup games or even just hanging out in these public spaces being asked to prove they have Gencon badges.

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Posted by jimmythesaint

GOOD:


  • Taking my 11 year old for the first time, and she loved it.
  • Taking my 16 year old for the 10th time, and she loved it.
  • Taking my 16 year old's friend for the first time, and she loved it.
  • Hellboy The Board Game event - sorry I forgot your name, demo guy from Ohio, but Mantic sold a copy of the game because of our session with you.
  • The INsurgency event for wargaming in the Library on Thursday

BAD:

  • Hygiene and body awareness. I won't comment further, but suffice to say it seemed worse and more inconsiderate than past years.
  • <Insert annual complaint about huge backpacks/rolling suitcases/wagons, etc>
  • <Insert annual complaint about cosplay picture traffic jams>

MEH:

  • FFG In Flight Report. 

UGLY:


  • Nothing. 

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Posted by aldctjoc

And:

Good: Awesome game masters this year. I don't think anything changed from year to year, it's just that I apparently got super lucky this year with my choices. That's just chance, but it's still a good. 

Also: Thanks to the retro arcade for taking care of my prescription sunglasses when I left them there by accident! I thought I was out nearly $300. But nope, safe and sound on their check-in desk. Related - kudos to the main office staffers who were helpful and offered to take my name and cell number in case it was turned in. That was all they could do, but they did it, and were really nice about doing what they could to help. 

Bad: Those super big and deep backpacks one of the vendors was selling. I'm sure they hold a lot, but I can't tell you how many times I got bumped and squeezed in the vendor hall because those things were *soooo big*. 

I think it should be a point of etiquette that going through the vendor hall should mean taking up a minimal footprint. But at the same time, if someone's in a far off hotel and doesn't have anywhere to store what they need that day besides their back, what do they do? I don't know what a good answer would be here.

Ugly: My hotel bill and dinner expenses, but those are expected. ;)  

All joking aside, the real Ugly is for things I personally never witnessed, but shouldn't ever be tolerated: Incidents of harassment. Those are just unacceptable. I read somewhere that some rando on a scooter also harassed a small group after outright asking them if they were there for the con. Talk about a dick move. Also, there's the story above. That's simply not acceptable. Whether it's done by hotel or convention staff or some random jerk on the street because he's a jerk, it's never something to just accept. Fighting doesn't have to be negative - a person could oppose it simply by being awesome to others at Gen Con - but that harassment shouldn't ever be left to stand unopposed.

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Posted by burrfoot72 jimmythesaint

jimmythesaint wrote:
MEH:

  • FFG In Flight Report. 

Yeah that FFG report was the most meh one I have ever been to.  I wasn't expecting free games or decks or anything again but we got only two truly new game announcements.  I thought we were due for more considering they didn't announce a bunch before the con like last year.  Happy about the marvel LCG but expected more.  A decent third or so of the presentation was given to a friend selling another marvel game too.

Would have liked to hear maybe a little bit about Corey Konieczka leaving Fantasy Flight and starting at a new development studio.  At least that studio is under the Asmodee umbrella.

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Posted by aldctjoc

nikas zekeval wrote:It's in the Attendees/Customers forum.  "Overzealous event staff" thread.the tl:dr version is a few, possibly the same person, was either pushing or unclear on the line that separated GenCon rented spaces from Hotel public spaces.  And people having pickup games or even just hanging out in these public spaces being asked to prove they have Gencon badges.

Oh. 

Well... that's not proper, but I have to be honest: I was thinking it was something much worse. What happened was not good, but it could've been addressed by simply going to the operations office (I think it was ICC 116, same office as Lost & Found) and letting them know that badges were being checked out of Gen Con areas. 

When I first pictured "harassment", I was thinking something done out of anger, hatred or intolerance. This situation appears to be someone overstepping their job expectations by performing it in the wrong place. It's not right, but at the same time, it's a different level of offense. 

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Posted by cmegus

Did not see the post on someone asking for badges but I did see some security guy (actually 2 of them but one was hanging back) giving a hard time to a group which was just kind of sitting around playing some game and it looked like he got them to leave.

Maybe a bad spot they picked but damn... it’s a game convention - what are you expecting?

Maybe having a bad day, who knows. In retrospect, security may have been asking for badges I guess, so it may have been for different reasons from my vantage point, but still...

G
 

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Posted by clembot

The Good:
Friendly vendors and staff

The Bad:
Hygiene 

The Ugly:
Very few food trucks with gluten free options. I packed my own gf bread this year to make sandwiches, but I’d like some variety. 

There was no place for breastfeeding/pumping mothers in Lucas Oil Stadium. 
Also, the two places in the convention center are close together, I’d love to see another added on the opposite side of the building or spreading those apart. 

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Posted by squirecam aldctjoc

aldctjoc wrote:
nikas zekeval wrote:It's in the Attendees/Customers forum.  "Overzealous event staff" thread.the tl:dr version is a few, possibly the same person, was either pushing or unclear on the line that separated GenCon rented spaces from Hotel public spaces.  And people having pickup games or even just hanging out in these public spaces being asked to prove they have Gencon badges.

Oh. Well... that's not proper, but I have to be honest: I was thinking it was something much worse. What happened was not good, but it could've been addressed by simply going to the operations office (I think it was ICC 116, same office as Lost & Found) and letting them know that badges were being checked out of Gen Con areas. 
When I first pictured "harassment", I was thinking something done out of anger, hatred or intolerance. This situation appears to be someone overstepping their job expectations by performing it in the wrong place. It's not right, but at the same time, it's a different level of offense. 
at least no punching incident this year

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Posted by braewe

The Good:
I had a great time, got almost everything I came for, and I had ALL excellent players this year, which is super nice.
NONE of my games had too MANY people, which means I could pay attention to all of them, and hear them, and hopefully they could hear me.
Got to meet up with some friends (Hey Voice of Reason!) and on the way out to head home I stumbled over the Fans of GC handing out dice. Was greedy and grabbed four, one for me, each daughter, and my daughter's boss, who attended but didn't know about the booth.
The weather was fantastic.
First time at JW, the rooms were definitely smallish, but the beds were super comfy and the staff was nice.

The Bad: 
Was it me or was the will call line just ALWAYS there? Usually its only up to the Shadowrun room wednesday and thursday morning. This year it was almost perpetually there except in the evenings.

The Ugly:
My daughters were unable to attend this year. Now that I've gotten used to bringing them, I really missed having them around. :(

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Posted by fethbone

The Good:


  • Agreed about the weather
  • Customer service seemed to have it very together
  • Encountered some very gracious and nice GMs, exhibitors, and ICC employees. I did not have encounters with the “badge-police” despite walking through the JW and ICC without my badge several times.
  • Avoided the food trucks and never had to wait to get served at a restaurant for lunch or dinner. Minimal wait times at Chik-fil-A and Patachou for breakfast. Discovered the Farmer’s Fridge vending machine at Mall Food court for next year if needed (hoping it’s still there next year).

The Bad:

  • ​​​​​​​Those darn “board game backpacks” that have already been mentioned. The ones that stick out like 2 feet. I almost got beaned by those a couple times.
  • Typical stuff like people stopping in the middle of the dealer hall walkways on their phones, excessively uptight or cranky people bringing down demos, freezing cold in the ICC to balance the body heat and hygiene issues, etc. These are things that, while annoying, I consider the price of an overall enjoyable con experience and I understand will never go away.
  • I get that the partnership is with a brewery, but I really wish they would serve adult beverages besides craft beer on Georgia street. Due to dietary restrictions, I avoid beer, and I wish they at least had wine/hard seltzer available as an alternative.

The Ugly:

  • Nothing related to the con itself, really. I had some issues with my reservation at the hotel, but overall it was a pretty good GenCon this year! 

 

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Posted by cman811

Good:


  • The weather was fantastic.  Wasn't terribly hot/humid, clear skies all around.  It was a great midwest summer week. 
  • Great food as always from the trucks to the surrounding restaurants.  
  • I had to line up in will call twice, once for myself and once with a friend who got there on saturday.  The first line on wednesday actually started early and took about 10 min to get through at around 11:30-45.  The second was around noon on saturday and there was approximately 10 people in line total.  So I missed all the big ones. 
  • The internet worked much better than I expected it to! 
  • The events I participated in went smooth, drama and problem free! That's not always the case.

Bad: 

  • The ffg in-flight report was straight up boring.  I felt like dozing off towards the end and one of my friends' wives actually DID fall asleep.
  • Sell outs.  From Food at a couple places, multiple vendors, the off world designs t-shirts... I just ran into a lot of sold out products all week. 
  • Layout of the Exhibit Hall.  I could be wrong about this but it seemed like a lot more booths this year went across the aisles, forcing people to go around them and double back when walking up and down the aisles.  I don't know if this is true or not, or if I was just particularly rankled by it this year as opposed to others.
  • Large apparatus in the Exhibit Hall.  From double strollers to wheelchairs with legs sticking out to people pushing and pulling carts full of their games.  It was kind of annoying.  I know, all kinds of people with all kinds of situations, so there's not a lot that can be done about it, but still.  

Ugly:

  • $$$$$

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Posted by qwaserity

GOOD:


  • All of the events went off very well.
  • Control of the Will Call line.
  • Dragon's Lair escape room. VERY WELL DONE!

BAD:

  • BoardGameTable backpacks. I nearly got hit by someone 6'6" 300 pounds wearing a 3' extension of his pack. When these are worn by larger individuals we can block half of an aisle.
  • Holding hands, family or romantic. When you hold hands in the dealer's hall your family can take up an entire aisle.
  • Food prices in the Stadium. Please post them instead of leaving up the "football game prices". I got a hot dog and a coke. I expected to pay $9 which wouldn't surprise me but I got a shock when the price was $15.
  • Hotel out at the airport (Clarion). So much broken stuff and no breakfast on Sunday. 

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Posted by selene314 nikas zekeval

nikas zekeval wrote:
Bad: The app needs a better mark for electronic tickets.  I spent an hour or so looking around and going to con ops for a "lost" ticket that was an e-ticket.  Perhaps something visually distinctive in the app for E-ticket events?

The ticket symbol is white with a lightning bolt instead of solid black. It's easy to see which are e-tickets if anyone would have ever told us what to look for.

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Posted by buttcabbge

Good:

*I actually had pretty great food truck experiences. The coconut curry chicken w/ rice and beans from Blue Lagoon was one of the best meals I've had anywhere in quite some time.
*Due to a surgery this summer, I had to be on a knee cart, and so many people, from security to GM's to fellow con-goers, couldn't have been more considerate and accommodating.
*Both RPG DM's I had were great.
*The Dice Throne tournament was a blast.

Bad:

*Missed the Dominion tournament Rio Grande used to run.
*The bathroom situation in the stadium field isn't great.

Ugly:

*Nothing really.

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Posted by jpederso

Good (there was a lot of them):
* The Sandy Petersen Cthulhu seminar was amazing.  He really knows his Cthulhu.  And he stayed after to chat and take a picture or 2.
* The weather made my first Orc Stomp very enjoyable.
* Playtest Hall - So much fun and a great way to spend 2 hours at the con. 
* Charity Auction - my son and I make this a not-to-miss event.  Jim the auctioneer makes it fun and the crowd gets into the spirit for charity.  Including a winning bid of $6500 on an item this year
* The back and forth banter with my son while walking the vendor hall on Sunday.
* The zanyness of Toon went up a couple of notches when the (fire) Beatle puns started.  Including a Yoko Ono reference from the GM (well done!).  The laughter and groans were great.
* The conversations you have with complete strangers including a sci fi book discussion while in Will Call line.
* Got to meet and talk to Peter Adkison.
Bad:
* Construction.  Nothing Gencon could do about it.  Hopefully we won't see more in  2020

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Posted by arcus

Good:
-My wife attending for the very first time and giving it a chance. She had a good time.
-My 11th Con in the last 12 yrs. it was good to get back.
- The weather was just amazing.
- St. Elmo’s Steakhouse...I wish I had tried that place sooner.
- Island Noodles & Box Burger - great eats on the go.
- All of the staff for GenCon, ICC, and the vendors were very nice and helpful especially to my wife. 

Bad:
- I felt many of the food trucks left a lot to be desired...try seasoning your food so it doesn’t alway taste bland or boiled.
- Coolstuffinc booth: I felt like they really didn’t bring the good stuff this year for sale. I could be wrong though.
- People with exhibitor badges lined up at booths before the doors opened at 10. Were these people really VIGers? I don’t mind people beating me to the booth from the doors, but to have 20 people already in line when I came in from the closest door is ridiculous. 

Ugly:
-Insert typical rant about hygiene and large backpacks here. My wife got hit good by one and it left a bruise on her arm with no apology. It only takes a fraction of a second to peek over your shoulder before moving so you don’t hit anyone, but so few do it.

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Posted by miked arcus

arcus wrote:
Good:- My wife attending for the very first time and giving it a chance. She had a good time.- My 11th Con in the last 12 yrs. it was good to get back.- The weather was just amazing.- St. Elmo’s Steakhouse...I wish I had tried that place sooner.- Island Noodles & Box Burger - great eats on the go.- Most of the staff for GenCon, ICC, and the vendor were very nice and helpful especially to my wife. Bad:- I felt many of the food trucksleft a lot to be desired...try seasoning your food so it doesn’t alway taste bland or boiled.- Coolstuffinc booth: I felt like they really didn’t bring the good stuff this year for sale. I could be wrong though.- People with exhibitor badges lined up at booths before the doors opened at 10. Were these people really VIGers? I don’t mind people beating me to the booth from the doors, but to have 20 people already in line when I got from the closest door is ridiculous. Ugly:-Insert typical rant about hygiene and large backpacks here. My wife got hit good by one and it left a bruise on her arm with no apology. It only takes a fraction of a second to peek over your shoulder before moving so you don’t hit anyone, but so few do it.
They took away early access from the VIGs this year.  Those in line before the doors open would be the “press” and other vendors

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Posted by bobvilla braewe

braewe wrote:

The Bad: 
Was it me or was the will call line just ALWAYS there? Usually its only up to the Shadowrun room wednesday and thursday morning. This year it was almost perpetually there except in the evenings.

I agree, I had my badge and tickets mailed this year thank goodness but I did get one event after the deadline so it was at will call. I went there around midnight wed/thurs and the line was still super long and the event was 10 am Thursday so i just skipped it. Wasn't so enamored with the event that I was willing to wait in will call for an hour+ after midnight. On the other hand customer service was emptyish most of the con, I wandered by at about 11am on Friday and was in line for less than a minute to get a couple of generics for the BGG hot games room. Surprisingly it was 24 hours as well I didn't know that, I popped over there about midnight saturday to return extra generics.
 

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